After 94 active years, Vin Terrill, long-time Manchester resident, died peacefully in his home on June 24. Vin and his wife Alrie moved to Manchester in 1955 where they raised their three children, son Vinny and daughters Linda and Sarah. In town he was best known for his countless volunteer hours to the First Parish Church, the Manchester Athletic Association as a coach, board member and president, in the planning and design of Sweeney Park, and as a spokesman and volunteer for the Lions Club’s Red, White & Blue Breakfast. He promoted many of these activities through long and colorful articles that he wrote for the Cricket. He was given a word limit for these articles which he invariably exceeded and the Cricket always printed.
Vin loved his 58-year career in railroading. He began his career with the Boston & Maine Railroad, 1952- 1985. In 1985 he was hired as the president and CEO of Speno Rail Services. After five years, he became the Director of Pandrol Jackson, Inc. He formed his own consulting firm in 1990 and worked for another twenty years as President of Terrill Track Consultants.
During those 58 years, Vin was involved at the highest levels in the industry’s professional organizations He served on the Transportation Research Board; as Director of the New England Railroad Club; as President and Past President of the AREA, President and Past President of the Railroad Engineering Manufacturers Suppliers Association, Past Governor of the Railway Progress Institute, Past President of the New England Railroad Club and Town Designee to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. He was known throughout the industry as an entertaining speaker. He never used notes and spoke until they turned the lights off. He had a gift for remembering people’s names and stories about them. Whatever event he attended, he was the emcee.
In recent years, Vin’s service to his country has received attention. He served in the Army’s 96th Infantry Division on Okinawa. He rarely talked with his family about the war, but in January, 2020 Vin was reunited with fellow WWII veteran PFC Harold Stryker, 95 who Vin assumed was dead. The pair had served together in the 96th Division “Deadeyes” during the Battle of Okinawa in Japan. Every moment of their reunion in Manchester was filmed for the documentary series Honor Flight Heroes.
Vin is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Dale Chapman of Alton, IL; son and daughter-in-law Vinny and Maureen Terrill of Manchester; daughter and son-law Sarah and Lyons Davidson of Lynchburg, VA and beloved friend Susan Martineau. He has seven grandchildren Rachel and Isaac Chapman; Brenden and Sean Terrill; and Hannah, Libby and Jette Davidson. He was predeceased by his wife Alrie.
Donations can be made to the Vincent Terrill Memorial Steeple Fund for the First Parish Church. Donations would be made to First Parish Church, Congregational, PO Box 187, Manchester, MA 01944—with Vincent Terrill Memorial Steeple Fund on the memo line.
As a consequence of COVID-19, a private remembrance will be held at a later date.